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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Matthew Freedman’s Post-Free Agency Version (5.0)

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Matthew Freedman’s Post-Free Agency Version (5.0)

We’re through almost two weeks of free agency, so now feels like a good time to publish another NFL mock draft.

That said, we’re also in the middle of March Madness, and that’s my priority.

Since 2019, I’ve done player projections for the NCAA tournament and leveraged these projections in the betting market. I’ve had success.

  • 2019: 125-69-12, +39.8 units
  • 2021: 106-64-1, +33.8 units
  • 2022: 243-210, +14.9 units
  • 2023: 234-180, +41.9 units (through Round 2)

You can find all of my college basketball player projections and prop plays in my premium March Madness articles. I post my favorite player props for each game in the March Madness channel of our FREE BettingPros Discord.

In addition to projecting players this year, I’m also teaming up with some folks here behind the scenes to create official team forecasts for every NCAA tournament game. Based on our premium spread projections and total projections, I’m 9-4 (+4.6 units) against the spread betting on the NCAA tournament. I post all my team-level bets in our BettingPros app.

So March Madness deserves 100% of my attention at this time of year.

But whatever. I’m the kind of guy who gives 110% — so I’m diverting that extra 10% away from March Madness and toward a new version of a mock draft.

Because I’m doing this mock in my “spare time,” I won’t provide much analysis. This is pretty much just the picks with a few notes. But who are we kidding? This is probably the 10th mock draft you’ve looked at today. You’re a degenerate sicko looking for an NFL draft fix. The picks are all that you want.

And I’m cool with that.

Here are my previous 2023 mocks.

Over the past three years, I’m the No. 1 mocker in the FantasyPros Accuracy Contest. Over the past four years, I’m No. 2. For obvious and selfish reasons, I prefer the three-year window.

Historically, I’ve done well betting on the draft.

  • 2019: 54-29 (+17.7 units)
  • 2020: 124-88 (+26.2 units)
  • 2021: 158-140 (+32.0 units)
  • 2022: 70-50 (+29.3 units)

Check out my 2023 NFL draft prop card to see all the bets I’ve made to date. As I make more bets, I will post them first in the NFL draft channel in our FREE BettingPros Discord and then write up my bets for publication. To get my draft bets as quickly as possible, join Discord.

In determining team needs, I’ve consulted Andrew Erickson’s excellent free agency and draft breakdown. For player insight, I’ve perused Matthew Jones’ unrivaled scouting reports.

Note: The Dolphins forfeited the No. 21 pick because of the team’s “impermissible contact” with QB Tom Brady and HC Sean Payton when they were respectively under contract with the Patriots and Saints. Rather than list that missing pick below, I have moved what would have been Picks 22-32 to Picks 21-31.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

2023 NFL Mock Draft

1. Carolina Panthers: C.J. Stroud (QB – Ohio State)

Stroud is now -185 to go No. 1 overall (at DraftKings). I don’t think he’s that big of a favorite in reality, but he’s the clear frontrunner at this point in the process.

2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young (QB – Alabama)

Young is the -150 frontrunner to go No. 2 (at FanDuel). I’ve had Young slated to the Texans for months.

3. Arizona Cardinals: Will Anderson (EDGE – Alabama)

4. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)

5. Seattle Seahawks: Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)

Even with the re-signing of QB Geno Smith, the Seahawks could draft their quarterback of the future this year, and Richardson (a raw prospect) could benefit from some developmental time on the bench to open his career.

6. Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Paris Johnson (OT – Ohio State)

8. Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)

I increasingly believe that Robinson — universally regarded as one of the true top-tier talents in this class — will go higher than he’s commonly mocked. He’s comparable as a prospect to the running backs who have gone in the top 10 over the past decade, and Falcons HC Arthur Smith feels like the kind of guy who would prioritize the position given the success he had as the Titans offensive coordinator with RB Derrick Henry.

9. Chicago Bears: Jalen Carter (DT – Georgia)

The Bears get lucky.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: Tyree Wilson (EDGE – Texas Tech)

11. Tennessee Titans: Peter Skoronski (OT – Northwestern)

12. Houston Texans: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Ohio State)

After his excellent combine, Smith-Njigba is rightly -130 to be the No. 1 wide receiver selected (at Caesars).

13. New York Jets: Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)

The Jets might ultimately trade this pick to the Packers for QB Aaron Rodgers, but for now they still have the pick and need help on the offensive line.

14. New England Patriots: Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)

It’s almost impossible to predict what the Patriots will do, but cornerback is a need.

15. Green Bay Packers: Brian Branch (S – Alabama)

16. Washington Commanders: Joey Porter Jr. (CB – Penn State)

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Deonte Banks (CB – Maryland)

18. Detroit Lions: Myles Murphy (EDGE – Clemson)

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Darnell Wright (OT – Tennessee)

20. Seattle Seahawks: Lukas Van Ness (EDGE – Iowa)

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Addison (WR – USC)

I hate mocking for the Chargers: They’re one of those teams that are very hard to get right. I theoretically want to give them a tight end, but if I do that then it throws off a lot of what I want to do later in the draft — and my goal in mocking is to be good enough, not perfect. So I’m simply slotting Addison to the Chargers in this iteration and moving on.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU)

23. Minnesota Vikings: Zay Flowers (WR – Boston College)

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kelee Ringo (CB – Georgia)

25. New York Giants: Jalin Hyatt (WR – Tennessee)

I don’t love this pick. I thought strongly about C John Michael Schmitz — but the Giants need a wide receiver. I dislike all options at No. 25.

26. Dallas Cowboys: Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)

27. Buffalo Bills: O’Cyrus Torrence (OL – Florida)

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton Kincaid (TE – Utah)

29. New Orleans Saints: Bryan Bresee (DT – Clemson)

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Calijah Kancey (DT – Pittsburgh)

Kancey might be Aaron Donald 2.0.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Nolan Smith (EDGE – Georgia)

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